My friend Adele recommended a book to me called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck. The premise is that there are 2 mindsets: a “growth mindset” or a “fixed mindset.”
People with a fixed mindset believe that their personality, ability, and talent levels are permanently fixed at where they are at. This limiting belief therefore hinders their performance and actions.
People with a growth mindset believe that hard work along with the desire to reach beyond their current personality, ability, or talent levels will result in noticeable improvement.
At first glance, I said to myself I have a growth mindset. In general, I believe that is true. I’ve always felt that I can do anything that I set my mind to. But, when I really stop and think about it, I realize that that is not entirely true.
My growth mindset
With regards to this writing journey I am on, I believe I have a growth mindset. Though I do not know everything there is to know about publishing my book and promoting myself as an author, I know deep down, that I will figure it out in time. There is no major stop sign or obstacle that holds me back. I work hard at learning different aspects and I take steps towards those goals.
I think there are many different aspects in my life where I have a growth mindset:
- Learning a new culture and language
- Learning a new craft
- Figuring something out on the computer
I hold no limiting beliefs to these and a myriad of other things. I know I can expand my knowledge and my talents.
My fixed mindset
Conversely, when it comes to financial issues/topics and managing my money, I have a huge do not enter sign! This is because I have always found it to be confusing and overwhelming. Consequently, I believe that my talent and intelligence in this area are sub-par. I don’t even try to expand my knowledge in this area because I’ve already decided I’m not smart enough to figure it out!
Seriously?! That is not a path to success! With the fixed mindset, I relinquish control and just let others advise me because I don’t think I have what it takes to figure it out.
Our brains can improve
Full disclosure: I haven’t finished reading the book, but it isn’t too difficult to see where Dweck is headed. Our brain has the capacity to grow and learn IF we challenge it rather than hold back and not even try.
It’s not surprising that high achievers have a growth mindset. They view failure as an opportunity to improve. People who have a fixed mindset view failure as a setback and may even allow that setback to paralyze them.
It’s important to adopt a growth mindset in all aspects of your life.
Equally important is recognizing that you can encourage and help others to have a growth mindset. As a parent, teacher, mentor, or boss, how you interact and encourage someone can have positive lasting effects on what mindset will be established.
Financial topics are not the only thing where my mindset is fixed, but it is probably the thing that bothers me the most. So, I have decided to change this fixed mindset to a growth mindset and I am going to challenge myself to understand and not be overwhelmed by money issues. I know this will not be an overnight process but my hope is that in 2015 I will learn enough and be confident enough to wisely manage our finances and our retirement.
In addition, when I catch myself saying I don’t know this or I can’t do this, I’ll be sure to add “yet” to the end of those statements!